You would like to think so with Americans now spending an estimated $28 billion a year! This is a figure that has doubled over the last 15 years and continues to grow.
With that kind of turnover, it is an industry that wouldn’t appreciate what Time journalist John Cloud had to say on the matter.
John Cloud did the self experiment following the regime of a US vitamin company over 5 months. He was prescribed 22 vitamins a day along with highstreet protein bars and psyllium fibre.
He had a doctor to check him before and after the experiment. The only noticeable effect was that his vitamin D had increased. Interestingly he also increased his girth measurements by a total of almost 5kg.
It is fair to say we don’t know how questionable this experiment was. There’s no mention of exercise, what the protein snacks or bars were and what his daily diet consisted of.
I do wonder though if the general consensus amongst us is by simply that by taking a vitamin pill our health will improve. What about the food we eat and the lifestyles we lead? Surely that has much more impact long term?
What I can say for sure is the spin on marketing I see in the fitness industry when it comes to protein powders, bars and protein snacks is greatly skewed. It still amazes me the amount of females that ask me if they will get big muscles or put on weight by consuming a protein powder? Yet a healthy protein snack would actually have the opposite effect and help most females find their true natural weight. But hey, if a product uses advertising featuring big muscles or a swimsuit model, it’s got to be good for you right?
An article in the SMH featuring Sydney University Associate Professor in Human Nutrition Samir Samman had to say this on the matter:
“The first really important finding was that these made no effect – that there was no improvement in people taking large amounts of vitamins in relation to cardiovascular disease,”
“The statistics also showed that large doses of vitamins actually have a small, but statistically significant, increase in mortality for these patients.”
He said Cloud’s experiment came to similar conclusions as other academic research into the efficacy of vitamins.
“You find sporadic bits of information promoting this, or saying that this is beneficial if you are being treated for a condition,”
“But if people are otherwise healthy, and adequately nourished, then why are they taking additional supplements?”
I think it would be very easy for me to jump on the bandwagon and claim vitamins are expensive urine. In saying that, deficiency is usually from malnutrition and if there is a vitamin deficiency, I feel professional guidance with the right diagnosis and an improvement in lifestyle would be beneficial to get someone up to speed.
As for longevity and good health? I can’t see how it trumps a healthy lifestyle with smart daily choices, do you?
Want to Learn More About the Effectiveness of Vitamins?
Sonya is one of Australia’s leading factual television producers specialising in science. She has written, directed and produced over 50 hours of broadcast documentary and executive produced many award-winning factual series and one-off programs.
In this interview we discuss Sonya’s documentary Vitamania and ask if high street vitamins are actually healthy… enjoy.